Jobu reviews Nacional’s final game of the group stage of the Copa Libertadores.
As we discussed last time, Nacional had already qualified for the next round of play before this game was even played, but had a chance to seal up first place with a win, or a Boca Juniors loss. Luckily for the good guys, Boca lost 3-2 to Toluca (thanks for the help, guys). Because of that, Nacional’s 1-0 loss to Barcelona didn’t matter. However, I think Nacional was content to just move on, because they didn’t exactly send their A-squad out to the field. Let’s talk about it some more after the jump…
Now, it’s not as though Nacional didn’t play with intensity or the desire to win. After all, a win would have guaranteed them a better seed. What they didn’t do though, was send out all the big guns. They took the opportunity to rest key starters like Iván Alonso and Juan Albin (although the latter came in as a sub later on) and important but aging subs like Sebastián Abreu and Álvaro Recoba.
The lone goal came on a defensive mistake by the “tri-colores,” as Nacional is lovingly known as (name means the tricolors, in case you don’t know spanish… or barely know any latin based languages). Argentine born Gonzalo Castillejos basically ended up by himself in front of the net and popped the ball past goalie Leonardo Burian in the 37th minute to give Barcelona the 1-0 lead.
Nacional did its best to try to tie the game up late, but it wasn’t meant to be. Like I said earlier, it ended up not mattering either because Boca lost. Nacional advances to the next round, where they’ll play Peru’s Real Garcilaso in the home and home knockout portion of the tournament. Real Garcilaso plays at 3,400 meters above sea level, which should make for some interesting challenges for Nacional. Tune in Thursday night at 9:15 PM Eastern, and let’s see how the Bolsos do.
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